Monday, July 25, 2016

My Complaint to Hubert Joly, CEO of Best Buy

This is a copy of an email I also sent to Hubert Joly, CEO of Best Buy, about their Rewards program. Dear Mr. Joly, I am writing to you to file a consumer complaint with your Rewards program. I was most pleased when I made a couple large purchases recently at my local Best Buy store in Chicago and subsequently received $405 in Rewards certificates.

I received five separate emails over a period of about three weeks with the certificates ($305 received on 11/24 and another $100 on 12/10). I took my $405 in certificates to my local Best Buy on 12/27 and applied them to the purchase of a new, high-end remote control.

When the clerk scanned the certificates, only $200 came off the purchase amount. Your clerk had no idea why the additional $205 in certificates were declined. He called someone for assistance, but they were too busy to come. He then signed me onto a computer to look up my account.

My online account indicated I had only $200 in certificates ... except that I had the emails and the certificates themselves totaling $405 and he couldn't explain the discrepancy, nor could we figure it out from the online information.

Needless to say, I was quite embarrassed in front of the clerk and other customers to find I had invalid certificates and that my purchase amount was unexpectedly more than double the anticipated amount and had to be canceled.

When we went through the emails/certificates, it turns out, the 12/10 certificate actually duplicated the certificate number of one of the certificates sent to me on 11/24. And another $100 and a $5 certificate were showing up as deactivated when scanned. Reviewing my online Rewards history, it was quite impossible to determine what was going on.

There is no visible running total of points showing additions and subtractions and no "here are your outstanding valid certificates" screen. Just free-standing transactions and amounts with no way to determine where you actually stand or whether your certificates are valid or invalid. Your store clerks are equally clueless and could offer no help at all.

When I called the Best Buy Rewards Program customer service (at 3 pm on 12/28), the rep (Carol or Karen, I think) took more than 30 minutes, adding and subtracting amounts. She initially told me the amounts didn't make sense to her either, but finally declared that she thought the balance was correct and that some of my certificates had been deactivated due to a price-match and a small return. That makes no sense to me as both of those transactions occurred nearly 3 weeks.

I am flabbergasted and quite upset. In a side note, the rep said I had about $80 in credits sitting in my Rewards account and promised to increase the value to $100 immediately for my use due to the inconvenience - but, oops!, she increased it to just $90. Another Best Buy promise broken!

Both my 11/24 and 12/10 emails simply said: "Lucky you - a new Reward certificate is here" and instructed me to click here to print them out for use. At no time did I receive an "Oops! We issued certificates we shouldn't have" message.

And the 12/10 message did NOT say, we are issuing a duplicate of a certificate you already received (why would you do that?). I had no clue that I needed to check the certificate numbers to ensure you didn't send out a separate message three weeks later with the same certificate number you sent previously. The message simply said "Lucky you - a new (and I emphasize NEW) certificate is here."

Your communication around the Rewards certificates and changes to already-issued certificates is bad. As a communication worker myself, I am disgusted by the lack of clear communication that turned should have been a wholly positive experience that made me feel warm and fuzzy about the Best Buy brand into a negative and embarrassing experience that left me so upset I am contemplating closing out my Best Buy account and never shopping at your stores again.

I think Best Buy should stand behind the original issuance of $405 in certificates. Your mistake should not be my embarrassing moment. Why would you issue certificates that were invalid due to a return that had occurred more than 3 weeks previously?

Just how long does it take your systems to synch up? I assumed the certificates I received were current and valid, but apparently Best Buy knew different - you just didn't let me, your customer, know. The "secret" was waiting to be sprung on me at the register. What a terrible customer experience and what poor communication!

I wanted you to be aware of this. I hope Best Buy will do the right thin.